Third Time’s the Charm (Anniversary Special)

My oh my, look how far we’ve come. Normally a Monochrome Monday would be here, but today is a special day. As has been the tradition, and really it’s just my personality in general to celebrate things, I like to do a special post for special days. And today is the third (yes 3rd) anniversary of this here photography blog! (By Hawaiian standards, it is still the 24th, so we’re rolling with that. This would have been posted sooner, but I was still doing rehearsal related activities even 3 hours after rehearsal ended.)

Three whole years have gone by since I first started spouting my word vomit and throwing up pictures like gang signs (you like that awful analogy) for others to enjoy. And in that three years I have grown as an artist (if I can even call myself that) and everyone has grown with me – my readers, my supporters, and my models. Of course, we’re only talking three years of blogging within the greater context of 5 or so years of practicing photography, but man have they been some good years. This past year I was a little off my game. I know I didn’t post nearly as much as usual, and I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time as I would have liked with my camera, my models, or our crazy themed photo shoots. But that doesn’t mean that I was any less of a photographic genius when the time called for it (sorry, now I’m just being conceited without probable cause). And I guess you all, dear readers, agreed because this year was filled with more likes, more followers, and well, more love and wonder. So let’s begin our fabulous Blog-iversary Celebration with:

The Best of McClish Photography: Fan Favorite Blog Posts

That precious little star that signifies your admiration for my work is so gratifying to see. For every time that little star was pressed, I took note of it and compiled this fabulous list of the top 10 favorite posts of 2013:

  1. Midweek Photo (Vol. 2)
  2. Reaching the Pinnacle: Preview
  3. Monochrome Monday #64
  4. Monochrome Monday #63
  5. Midweek Photo
  6. Hawaiian Nights
  7. First Day of Spring
  8. Summertime Sadness: More Photos from Makapu’u
  9. Spring Photography Season: Sneaks & Peeks
  10. Monochrome Monday #66

The trend, it seems, is that my posts about Hawai’i are becoming more and more popular. I must admit, I often feel the same. Living here has certainly given me some new opportunities to capture the most amazing things. Anyway, keep on clicking that star; I appreciate it (but only when you feel like it. No pressure or anything).

The Best of McClish Photography: 2013 Photography

It’s always an interesting phenomenon when I post photos from a session and compare my favorites to that of others. I think what I like is often vastly different from the rest of the world. In a way, I like that because it allows me to see what others see in my work. At the same time, it makes me wonder why I’m so picky about choosing my favorites. But anyway; I would like to share my personal favorite images from the year. I was going to do 13, but then I realized that I didn’t do nearly as much photography this year. And then I had another realization that it was ok because I came up with something else to make up for it.

Angie from her Spring Abstract Art Session in April 2013

Angie Lights

Carmen and Friends from their Spring Friendship Photo Shoot in April 2013

Carmen and Friends April 2013

Peytone from The Hell’s Angels Photo Shoot in May 2013

Angels 6

Brandy and Peytone from the Hell’s Angels Photo Shoot in May 2013

P&B 3

Molly from her Hula Portrait Session in December 2013

Hula 2

The Ferris Wheel at Honolulu’s New Year’s Eve Party of the Year in January 2014

Ferris Wheel

Taylor from her Spring Portrait Session in March 2014

Taylor 4

Taylor 5

Some of these are never before seen (because I’m so busy and haven’t gotten around to posting them), so now you have something exciting to look forward to! I feel like I’ve come far in my photo taking skills. There are still moments when I feel like I’m just winging it, but I try really hard to be much more intentional about my photographic choices. It’s not always easy. Often times I find myself settling into old habits, but with every session and each passing year, I feel like I get better and better. I’m really excited to see where 2014 will take me. If those last two images of Taylor act as foreshadowing for the year ahead, I can definitely say I feel good about it.

Adventures in Aloha

The most notable thing to happen to my photography (and me in general) this past year was my big move across the country to the middle of the Pacific. It’s not everyday that an average Southern girl from Nashville, TN transplants herself to a place like Honolulu, HI. And though I document those particular adventures on a separate blog, I still have a lot to share about my adventures here through photography. I haven’t had much time to practice since moving (the life of a graduate theatre student), but I’ve still managed to sneak in photos here and there. So I wanted to take this time to look back on a few of my favorite moments against the gorgeous backdrop of the islands of Hawai’i:

I live in such a beautiful place, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. I’m honored to be able to capture such a marvelous land and share its majesty with you all.

*Elvis Voice* Thank You, Thank You Very Much

And of course, as per usual, I have to give my shout outs to some cool people. It just wouldn’t be right of me to celebrate the big three years without doing so. So humor me for a minute:

  • My Family: They’ve taken a bit of a hands-off approach after sticking a camera between my fingers and telling me to go to town, but they are always supportive of my endeavors as a budding photographer. From my aunt telling me that I should use photography as a secondary business endeavor to make extra cash to my oldest brother Marc making me the designated photographer of his kids, my family (my uncle and my other brother Chris included) has taken it upon themselves to promote me whenever they can and encourage me along the way. I seriously couldn’t do this without them.
  • My Readers: Have I told you lately how awesome you all are? Because you, my dearest readers, are the absolute best! This past year was pretty magical. I broke 100 followers, a feat worth celebrating, and we’re well on our way to 200. Sure, other bloggers have hundreds and thousands of followers, but me? I couldn’t be happier with the readers I’ve got right now. You guys are a faithful bunch and patient to boot. It’s nice knowing that I can take a hiatus because of school or for personal reasons, and as soon as I return, you all are excited as ever to see me. That’s encouraging and it leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Even more, some of you all jumped ships (or rather straddled ships) when I started my blog for my life in Hawai’i and you follow that faithfully, too. So whether you’ve been here from day one or you just came aboard an hour ago, thank you for being so freaking fantastic!
  • My Surrogate Mother: Who can forget mother dearest? I won’t lie and say that things haven’t begun to change in our awesome-ship (I think I like that title over relationship or friendship). And sometimes I wonder how we ever came to be exactly what we are, but “mom” knows me better than I know myself sometimes, and she’s always rooting for me even when I can’t see her or talk to her from 45oo miles away. That, of course, means that she always has something down-to-earth and truthful to say to me when I get down on myself. And to be able to say that for the third year in a row she’s offered that kind of reflective truth-telling is not only impressive, it’s also indicative of her care for me (no matter how often I doubt it). The last time I talked to her about a month or so ago, I was beating myself up over my self-diagnosed lack of artistic creativity. And in that very calm “stop being stupid” manner of hers, she said, “If you’re not artistic and creative, why do you keep posting to your photography blog?” And sure, I moaned and groaned and acted like she was crazy, but I knew she was right. I love what I do, and I’m always trying to improve. So thanks, mother dearest, for always saying exactly what I need to hear.
  • My Models: Well, this is a no-brainer. This hobby wouldn’t exist without them. I work with some fabulous individuals from all kinds of backgrounds. They are the true stars and real artists behind my work, and we have a lot of fun doing what we do. I wouldn’t be where I am in my photography without them to experiment with/on. They’re always pitching new ideas to me, and they’re always up for a challenge. They remind me that there is no limit to what I can do as a photographer. They push me to try new things, to step out of my comfort zone (and to encourage others to do the same), and to always go with the crazier idea because who ever grew to be awesome by playing it safe? And after doing a little math, I found that I have had the pleasure of serving/working with over 50 models. Yes 50+ models! I appreciate my friends (and family) for putting up with my demands on clothing, poses, locations, etc. I ask them to do the strangest things, but it’s always in the name of good fun and the results never cease to amaze us. Every portrait, every photo shoot theme is done with all 50+ of them in mind, and I hope to work with 50+ more and continue making the magic that has become a staple for McClish Photography Studios.

Models Final

And there you have it. Three years of marvelous glory and hopefully plenty more to come. I am so glad that I get to share this journey with all of you. And I look forward to growing and changing in my craft. Hopefully you’ll all still be right here with me. This art is a major part of my very being, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work I and my models have produced over the years. And sometime soon, I hope to expand to more clients and wider audiences, but for now, I’m content with where things are. So happy birthday, McClish Photography Studios! We’re toddlers now, but we’re growing up fast! And there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

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